Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Sonny Milano's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.
Birthdate: May 12, 1996
Height/Weight: 6-0, 195
It was Sonny Milano's rookie season, his first full taste of the NHL, and it was an interesting case study statistically.
He started out hot, with four goals in the first three games of the season - including an overtime game-winner Oct. 10 at the Carolina Hurricanes. He then cooled off, going goalless in 16 straight games between Oct. 25 and Dec. 2 before making his first of four trips to play for the Cleveland Monsters in the American Hockey League.
Milano also missed most of January and February with a torn oblique muscle, which occurred Jan. 8 in Toronto. He missed a total of 18 games between Jan. 11 and Feb. 24, including four games in the AHL to test the oblique and get back up to speed prior to his NHL return.
He rejoined the Blue Jackets on Feb. 26, the same day the NHL Trade Deadline expired, and his energy was a welcome boost. Milano scored a goal that night in a 5-1 victory against the Washington Capitals at Nationwide Arena and added five more in the remaining 19 games of the regular season - helping the Jackets qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in consecutive seasons.
In the first-round series against the Capitals, Milano played in three games and averaged 6:45 in ice time - capping a turbulent, yet productive, rookie year.
After spending most of his first two professional seasons with the Monsters - helping them hoist the AHL's Calder Cup in 2016 - the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft now has 62 NHL games and 23 points to his credit.
Here's a look at Milano's 2017-18 season by the numbers:
Milano scored goals in bunches for the Blue Jackets, including five of his 14 goals in the first eight games of the season. He scored goals in consecutive games three times, including four goals during a season-high, three-game goal streak to start the year. He also scored in consecutive games Dec. 27-29 in Pittsburgh and Ottawa, and Mar. 2-4 I Anaheim and San Jose.
Throughout his career, Milano has proven to be a player that racks up points by scoring goals and setting them up. Milano had eight assists in 55 games this past season in Columbus, but it was the first time he'd finished with more goals than assists since the start of his junior career. Milano had 24 goals and 37 assists for 61 points in 63 games over two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL). He had 22 goals and 46 assists for 68 points in 50 games during his lone Ontario Hockey League season (2014-15). He's also tallied 34 goals and 54 assists for 88 points in 136 AHL games.
The number 22 tends to pop up quite a bit with Milano. It's his current age and jersey number. It's the number of goals he scored in the OHL for the Plymouth Whalers, in his final amateur season. It's also the number of minutes he spent in the penalty box with the Monsters in 2015-16 and was the number of points Milano had for the Blue Jackets this past season.
Milano's 14 goals were scored on just 69 shots, which works out to a bloated shooting percentage of 20.3 percent. The inclination is to say that high of a percentage will be nearly impossible for Milano to match, but he maintained it through 55 games. That's a decent sample size. The Blue Jackets certainly enjoyed his efficiency.
After being scratched in the series-opener against the Capitals, Milano played in the next three games. His ice time was scant, though, and he didn't play in Games 5 or 6. Milano finished the postseason with no points, shots or shot attempts in three games, averaging 6:45 a game. The Blue Jackets will likely count on Milano earning a bigger role in the next few years.
Milano had points in consecutive games six times. That included a season-high, three-game point streak to start the season. All four points in that stretch resulted from goals he scored, which also happened two other times.